Amazon has been monitoring and deleting reviews after Hillary Clinton’s new book was greeted with a torrent of criticism on the day it was released.
What Happened, which covers the former Secretary of State’s unsuccessful election campaign against Donald Trump, was published on Tuesday. Clinton and her publisher Simon & Schuster claimed the book would offer a candid account of her failure and her own reflection on it.
Reviews of What Happened have been mixed, with some suggesting it Clinton uses it as an opportunity to blame others – such as Bernie Sanders and Vladimir Putin – for her failure, rather than herself. In The New York Times, which supported Clinton’s campaign, Jennifer Senior writes that the book is “a score-settling jubilee”.
The readers on Amazon, meanwhile, are even more divided – but not all of them have read the book. The online retail giant has a “verified purchase” option to signpost whether reviewers have bought a product, and none of the 42 reviewers leaving comments on Tuesday had done so.
Few of the one-star reviews remain on the website, but reports and screengrabs show that reviewers used the space to criticise the former First Lady and spread conspiracy theories about her and Bill Clinton.
One one-star review, which remains on the website at the time of writing, reads: “Read all the promotional excerpts, which combined come close to book length – pretty good novel. It is fiction, isn’t it? Surely, someone is playing a joke.”
Amazon is rarely moved to delete reviews so publicly, although in November negative comments under a book by anti-Trump broadcaster Megyn Kelly appeared to be removed by the retailer.
Speaking to Fortune, a spokesperson from the company said: “In the case of a memoir, the subject of the book is the author and their views. It’s not our role to decide what a customer would view as helpful or unhelpful in making their decision. We do however have mechanisms in place to ensure that the voices of many do not drown out the voices of a few and we remove customer reviews that violate our community guidelines.”